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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Turnovers, mistakes sink ‘Cats”

    On a day when the Arizona women’s basketball team shot better than it has all season, the Wildcats also succeeded in shooting themselves in the feet a few too many times.

    The Wildcats had a game-high 20 turnovers yesterday, also struggling with rebounding en route to a 70-60 loss to Middle Tennessee State in McKale Center yesterday.

    “”I felt we played our hearts (out),”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. “”Our problem was we had some mental breakdowns at crucial points, and that really hurt.””

    From the opening minutes, turnovers plagued Arizona (2-4). The Wildcats committed four in the first three minutes, resulting in six quick points for the Blue Raiders (3-1).

    By halftime, the Wildcats, who shot 55.6 percent from the field, had turned the ball over 14 times.

    A series of Arizona turnovers in the second half allowed Middle Tennessee to increase its lead to nine from two. From that point, the Blue Raiders’ lead never fell below seven points.

    Middle Tennessee used a blistering full-court press to force the Wildcats into miscues.

    “”When we got down the court, we only had, like, 15 seconds to set up our offense, so we had to rush and get a shot off,”” said guard Ashley Whisonant. “”This probably caused a lot of our turnovers because if we beat the press we would have had wide-open layups, but if we didn’t beat it we just struggled.””

    Arizona has averaged over 23 turnovers in the last three games, resulting in 57 points for opponents.

    “”I felt there was improvement (with turnovers), partly because I limited who was in the game,”” Bonvicini said. “”We can’t get turnovers from our post players. You just can’t do that.””

    The Wildcats pulled down only eight offensive rebounds to the Blue Raiders’ 14.

    Middle Tennessee shot only 43.3 percent from the field but scored 17 points off second-chance shots.

    “”We have to rebound better,”” Bonvicini said. “”Particularly, we can’t allow teams to get 14 offensive rebounds.””

    Arizona finished with three players in double figures, including a near record-setting performance by forward Ify Ibekwe.

    The freshman shot 10-of-11 from the field, not missing a shot until less than 40 seconds remaining in the game.

    Ibekwe’s field-goal percentage ties her for second all-time in school history. The only other player to go 10-of-11 from the field in a game was Shawn Coder in 1991.

    “”I don’t really know (what was working),”” Ibekwe said, “”I was just playing basketball, trying to help the team out.””

    Ibekwe’s 22 points led the Wildcat’s best offensive performance of the year. The Neabors twins, Rheya and Rhaya, finished with 10 points apiece, while Whisonant added eight.

    Bonvicini said her team’s shooting was one of few bright spots on a disappointing afternoon.

    “”I thought our shot selection was amazing,”” she said. “”And then off the bench, Ify was incredible.

    “”We played our heart out today. We just need to take care of the ball better.””

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